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DARPA chief leaves Pentagon for Google job

Sharon Gaudin | March 14, 2012
Google, in a coup, has hired Regina Dugan, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), for a senior executive position.

Google, in a coup, has hired Regina Dugan, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), for a senior executive position.

Google confirmed that Dugan has been hired but declined to say what position she will hold.

"Regina is a technical pioneer who brought the future of technology to the military during her time at DARPA," said a Google spokeswoman, in an email to Computerworld. "She will be a real asset to Google and we are thrilled she is joining the team."

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said luring Dugan away from the Pentagon is a big coup for Google.

"This is good because Google has to care a lot about cybersecurity," he said. "They have a high level of concern. A single broad breach would ruin their Google Apps business. And well, Google looks to hire very smart people with deep engineering knowledge. I also would assume that she's a strong manager and spokesperson."

Dugan has served as the 19th director of DARPA since she took the position on July 20, 2009. DARPA, the research arm of the Department of Defense, was created more than 50 years ago to develop new technology for the U.S. military.

According to the DARPA Web site, Dugan is experienced in counterterrorism and defense against explosive threats. She first served as a DARPA program manager from 1996 to 2000 and directed a $100 million string of programs, including the Dog's Nose program, which focused on the development of an advanced, field-portable system for detecting land mines.

Dugan, who has a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, also led a counterterrorism task force for the deputy secretary of Defense in 1999 and, from 2001 to 2003, served as a special adviser to the vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army.

Lt. Col. Melinda F. Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said Dugan is expected to leave her post at DARPA in the next few weeks after a transition of leadership responsibilities to DARPA Deputy Director Kaigham J. Gabriel. Gabriel, who has been deputy director since July 2009, will serve as the agency's acting director until a permanent chief is hired.

 

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